Man shot, killed during violent carjacking

August 11, 2011 1:51:51 AM PDT
A man killed in a carjacking Sunday night on Houston's south side has now been identified.

Folks at the mosque where the victim just prayed Sunday night confirm that he was a member of the United Arab Emirates military.

As they began worship Monday, prayers were said briefly for one of the Almeda Masjid's newest members. Salem Saif Al Mazrouei was last seen alive here praying with his father just after 10pm Sunday night.

"He couldn't complete the prayer. His father got sick. He wanted to go home," said Hisham Hatammeh.

Police say Al Mazrouei and his father went back to their southeast Houston apartment on El Mundoat about 10:30pm and that they were approached by two men as they were getting out of their car. One of those men had a gun and was demanding their car or valuables.

Investigators say during the course of the robbery, the victim and his father attempted to run and that one of the suspects shot Al Mazrouei several times.

"Good man. I look at him here, praying every time. Good man," said Abu Hadda.

Al Mazrouei was gunned down in front of his father outside their apartment in the 8100 block of El Mundo near Holly Hall. The two men had just returned to their home from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center where the father received treatment for cancer.

This mosque is where friends and family will gather to pray for the 28-year-old victim Monday. He has been here in the U.S. for only one month from the United Arab Emirates to help take care of his father, who is in the middle of his cancer treatments at M.D. Anderson.

"My friend called me and he told me somebody shot him; I couldn't believe it," Salah Dean said.

Dean can't understand why anyone would want to murder his friend.

"It's a sad story, you know. We're all so sad," said Dean.

Around 10:30pm Sunday, Al Mazrouei and his father were getting home when police say two armed suspects rushed over to their car and robbed them at gunpoint.

During the robbery, the father and son tried to flee and as they were running away, the gunmen opened fire, striking the son several times. He died at Ben Taub General Hospital.

"The father and the son were wearing the traditional Middle Eastern wear, the garb as they say, and by some accounts, you could assume that they were targeted because of that, but we don't know that for certain right now," said an investigator on the scene.

His friends don't think it was anyone who knew him or his family.

"I don't think nobody have anything on him. I don't think he's got any enemies," said Dean.

Several residents we spoke to at the San Marin apartment complex confirmed hearing two gunshots.

"It's very disturbing that it happened in our community -- very disturbing," said Sidra Haye.

Others who know the family well are praying for them at this painful time.

"I know the family and they are nice person," said a family friend.

The United Arab Emirates Embassy in Washington, D.C. sent us a statement which read, "The UAE Embassy can confirm that a UAE national, Salim Saif Al Mazroui, was killed on Sunday evening in Houston. The incident surrounding Al Mazroui's death is the focus of an active Houston police investigation, therefore it would be inappropriate for the Embassy to comment further at this time."

Police say the suspects are described only as two tall black males. They got away in the victim's rental car. Police say the vehicle was later recovered unoccupied.

Anyone with information in this case is urged to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3600 or Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.

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